Father of Australian Swimming Forbes Carlile Passes Away

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

Australia’s legendary coach Forbes Carlile passed away. Carlile was a successful athlete and coach. He was Australia’s first modern pentathlon Olympian and also served as the nation’s first Olympic swim coach post-World War II.

Carlile is well known for his pioneering efforts studying the sport of swimming. He authored the first modern book on the sport and has been inducted into a number of Hall of Fames over the past forty years.

Carlile was featured in Swimming World‘s Lessons with the Legends in April.

Read the full press release from the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association:

It is with great sadness that ASCTA announce the passing of our legend and Number one swimming coach Forbes Carlile.

Forbes Carlile MBE was born in Armadale Victoria on 3 June 1921. Growing up in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Forbes, like most Australians, had an early need to learn to swim. He was at first an unwilling student in his lessons at the nearby Balmoral rock pool, but swimming soon became his boyhood hobby and sport of choice.

Carlile was Australia’s first post-World War II Olympics swimming coach in 1948. He was also Australia’s first competitor in the modern pentathlon at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.

Carlile studied at the University of Sydney under Professor Frank Cotton, graduating and later lecturing there in human physiology. His pioneering work on elite athlete training methods included interval workouts, pace clocks and log books, heart rate tests, training under stress and T Wave studies of the ventricles. He developed techniques such as even paced swimming and the use of two-beat kicks for long-distance events.

His book, Forbes Carlile on Swimming, was the first modern book on competitive swimming with its study of tapering and the historical development of the crawl. Other books by Carlile include A History of Crawl Stroke Techniques to the 1960s.

In 1977 Carlile was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, USA. Other awards include the Queens Jubilee Medal (1977), ASI Life Member (2003) and NSSA Hall of Fame (2003). In 1977, Carlile was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to swimming. In 1984 Carlile was inducted as a Life Member of the Australian Swim Coaches Association. In 1987 he was inducted as a Master Coach with the association. In 1989 Carlile, was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.

For many year Carlile was an integral member of the ASCTA Conference and was always seated in the front row beside his wife of Ursula.

He will be sadly missed by the whole swimming community.

On behalf of the ASCTA Board, staff and all members we send our best wishes and strongest support to Ursula in this time of sadness.

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Pat Kennedy
7 years ago

Prayers for his family and loved ones.

Chuck Kroll
Chuck Kroll
7 years ago

At the 55 year reunion dinner of the Santa Clara Swim Team in 2006 I had the honor and privilege of sitting between Coach Carlile and Ursula on one side and Coach Peter and Ingrid Daland on the other.
For this humble Swim/Aquatic historian… ‘I felt like I was floating in heaven.’
Thank you gentlemen and your wives for the amazing contributions you have left us all!
Prayers go out to Ursula and continue for Ingrid. We love you ladies!

Frank comfort
Frank comfort
7 years ago

Simply stated one of swimming’s greatest ever coaches….a world wide leader, thinker & creator in our sport. He & his wife was so kind to all, as I found out in June of 1963 at a clinic he conducted in Reading, PA., U. S. A.

Irene Hisham
7 years ago

Our prayers for him… RIP..

Steven V. Selthoffer
Steven V. Selthoffer
7 years ago

Forbes Carlile was a pillar of integrity in world and Olympic sports. He represented the best of Australia. As Americans and swimmers/coaches we share in your loss. Forbes was honored and respected by everyone. He did what was right. He did it because it was right. And then he did it right.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

Peter Scott
7 years ago

RIP a lifetime in swimming. Unfortunately never recognised or awarded by FINA

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